Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) Director, Samuel Cox laid a wreath at the USS Maine Memorial Feb. 15, commemorating the 125th anniversary of the explosion and sinking of the U.S. battleship in Havana Harbor that resulted in the loss of 266 of its officers and crew. 

“Today we honor the extraordinary sacrifice and service of the Maine Sailors,” said Cox. “We remember not just the Maine, but her crew.”

Maine was sent to Havana, Cuba, in January 1898, to protect American interests during the long-standing revolt of the Cubans against the Spanish government. During the evening of Feb. 15, Maine sank when its forward gunpowder magazines exploded, killing nearly three-quarters of the battleship's crew.

While the cause of the great tragedy remains unsettled, contemporary American popular opinion blamed Spain, and the Spanish-American War followed in April 1898. Maine's wreck was raised in 1912 to clear the harbor and to facilitate an investigation into the cause of its sinking. USS Maine’s remains were subsequently sunk with military honors north of Havana.

As the deployment of USS Maine in 1898 demonstrated the nation’s commitment to enabling regional freedom and deterring aggression, today’s Sailors demonstrate the Navy’s continued commitment to these missions. With 70% of the Earth’s surface covered in water; 80% of the world population living near the ocean, and 90% of global commerce by sea, the Navy’s mission remains critical to preserving peace ensuring continued national prosperity.

Director Cox's Remarks

For more information about the USS Maine sinking and its history, visit:

NHHC, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for preserving, analyzing, and disseminating U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy's unique and enduring contributions through our nation's history and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC comprises many activities, including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, 10 museums, USS Constitution repair facility, and the historic ship Nautilus.



Note to Media: For more information, contact the Naval History and Heritage Command Public Affairs Office at 202-433-7880 or